I have been wondering much about love, not just recently but since April 2013 when my H suddenly and shockingly announced he was unsure he wanted to be married. Up until that time, I thought honestly I knew love, could tell if I was loved, could bank my future on love. Once the bond of love was beaten and battered, betrayed and offered up again, I became completely unsure about what love really is and I have yet to land on an answer. I went in search and here are some things that struck a chord with me.
I think most adults should know, but many don’t, that the love that brings us together is transitory, exciting and wonderful yes, but a mirage created by body chemistry, childhood fairy tales of men on white horses and a dream girl. But what about the deep, steady, constant type of love that circumvents disagreements, boredom, external stressors? Where do we find that stuff and how the hell do we know when we have truly found it?
I guess when you are involved with another human, they will always be the wild card. Only you know how deeply you will and can love, and what you are willing to do for it. You can hope but not completely count on another person to hold your morals and commitment equally. You do your research, you get to “know” your spouse, spend time, talk, meet the family, look for clues….you think you have them figured out but honestly, do we ever really know them? Do all of us keep pieces of ourselves secret, some fragments, others huge cutting shards?
Here is a list I found on psychcentral.com, it really says it all for me. Love starts with the self.
” 1.Romantic true love must be created. It does not ‘just happen.’
2.You become capable of creating romantic true love when you commit to your own truth.
You commit to your own truth by dedicating yourself to becoming aware of the complex and wide range of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences as they continually shift and change.
3. You become aware as you move beyond whatever blocks you from being open to the truth of your experiences.
4. You move beyond your blocks to truth by learning to observe your thoughts and feelings in a compassionate way, even if those thoughts or feelings are scary or inconvenient.
Once you are committed to your own truth, you can work to create a romantic true love relationship.
5. Working to create a romantic true love relationship means seeking a partner who is also committed to awareness of his or her own truth, or encouraging an existing partner to commit to awareness of his or her own truth.
6. Once you and your partner are both individually committed to truth, you can work to build a relationship that supports truth.
7. In a relationship that supports truth, there is space and respect for both people to have whatever thoughts and feelings they may have, even if those thoughts and feelings are scary or inconvenient.
8. Truth in a relationship does not mean communicating every thought or feeling with your partner and causing unnecessary pain; truth in a relationship means that both partners feel safe to be open and honest about anything that seems important to share.
9. When there is respect and space for each person’s truth, you do not have to hide from the truth in fear of your partner turning mean, denying or invalidating your thoughts or feelings, or intentionally saying or doing things to hurt or abuse you.
10. A relationship where it is safe for truth to emerge will challenge and support both partners toward increasing awareness and connection to the spectrum of their own truth.
11. Once you and your romantic partner are both committed to being true unto yourselves, and you are building a relationship that supports truth, only time will tell if it is romantic true love.
12.If it is romantic true love, it will endure, growing and evolving to continue to support truth, integrating whatever arises into its fabric. For example: ‘Sometimes I detest my husband.’ ‘Sometimes I feel thrilled by my partner.’ ‘Sometimes I wish that my wife would just stop talking and leave me alone.’ ‘Sometimes I look over at my partner snoring and I find him totally unattractive.’ ‘Sometimes I feel suffocated by my marriage.’ ‘Sometimes I feel incredibly fortunate to be married to my spouse.’ ‘Sometimes I feel rejected by my partner.’ ‘Sometimes I feel alone, even with my partner sitting right next to me.’
‘And amid all of this, I still want to be together.’ ‘Our bond remains strong.’ ‘We both keep growing.’ ‘We keep going together.’ ‘We keep loving each other.’ ‘This must be true love.’”
I realize that although I may have not had all these points perfectly, and lets face it, there is never perfect, I did wish for this type of love in my heart of hearts. To know myself, to be deeply known by another and to live in a space we create that nurtures this. Number 12 hit home with me. I really did love, in this sense, I knew that there would be an ebb and flow to my love for H, I knew there were times when we would not like each other very much, I knew we would face challenges, some solvable and some not. Clearly his version of love was or is nowhere near this description.
Here is my dilemma, is the very nature of this type of love that I am meant to get beyond his most deeply cutting betrayal? If I am not able to, does this mean my love for him was not “real” or “deep”?
I keep examining my reasons for staying. I am not one who is locked in marriage for financial reasons, we do not have children, I am fully self-sufficient in every way. I have been afraid I stay because I am weak, co-dependant in some way, fearful of hurting him, just too lazy to start over. I am not willing to go down without making sure I have turned over every emotional stone to make sure the decision to leave is the right one. But should the decision to stay only be about love? When friends ask me if I love him, my answer is always, “I don’t know what love is anymore”. This betrayal has wrestled my beliefs to the floor and they are in an unescapable headlock. How will I recognize love, I no longer trust my own judgement.